Crowbar Teeth

Dad is a robber. Full eye contact, fist to sternum, feet on the ground robber. He brings good new stuff home to us and if we break it he doesn't show us rage the way other fathers do. He smiles and hugs us and robs something else new and good. He feeds us. He teaches us the names and songs of birds.

At a family gathering of no small importance, dad gave an impassioned monologue to his collected relations. "It ain't stealing if it's honest. Bashing a man in the face and taking the things he carries is an honest thing to do. It is transaction. Maybe you call me a thug. I will wear that garment. Like all other garments I wear, it is one I procured through no small amount of skullduggery. This food you are eating, the utensils which transport it to your mouths, the napkins, the tablecloths, the chairs you sit upon: all of this has been obtained by me in the most honest way I know, by violent force.

You may say 'I don't relish sitting on another man's chair!' To you, I say: if that other man truly wanted that chair, he would have been prepared to keep it. When I rang his doorbell and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and kicked him around his yard, he would have given me twice what he got. As I tossed his chairs into the back of my Isuzu, he would have tripped me, punched me, smashed my knees, anything to stop me from taking his chairs.

But he didn't. As he lay in the grass nursing his wounds, he agreed: this was a fair price."

Everyone knew all of this, but allowed him his time to speak. That wasn't all he said. He said a lot more. But we all wanted that soup and didn't care if a woman was shoved into a garbage can so we could have it.